Antisemitism is bigotry, prejudice, and/or discrimination of Jews based on religion, culture, and/or ethnicity. It is commonly nicknamed “the world’s oldest hatred.”
Antisemitism has survived for the past 2000+ years because it’s very adaptable. When societies change, antisemitism mutates to survive. Though criticism of Israel is not in and of itself antisemitic, projecting antisemitic tropes, stereotypes, and conspiracies onto the world’s only Jewish state is antisemitic. Holding the world’s only Jewish state to double standards is antisemitic. Xenophobia against Israeli citizens, particularly civilians, is antisemitic, especially in light of the fact that (1) half of the world’s Jews live in Israel, (2) anti-Israel xenophobia is largely rooted on antisemitic tropes and antisemitic historical revisionism, and (3) Israel is the world’s only Jewish-majority state.
I have long argued that antisemitism is much more than just an issue of interpersonal bigotry, but rather, that it’s deeply embedded into our institutions, the institutions that shape how our world functions. This has become more clear to me than ever in the aftermath of October 7.
I decided to take a look into how the world’s most influential and reputable institutions responded to the indiscriminate slaughter and illegal abduction of Israeli civilians on October 7. When I searched “world’s most important institutions,” the following came up over and over again as the “top three”: the United Nations, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization. I decided also to include the Red Cross, which sets the parameters for international law, and academia in general in this post.
I decided to share my findings in this post. There is no question: the responses (or lack thereof) are rife with double standards and blatant xenophobia.
UNITED NATIONS-AFFILIATED INSTITUTIONS
At this point, I’ve written a number of in-depth posts about the complicity and borderline collaboration of genocidal antisemitism in the United Nations.
Secretary General of the United Nations Anthony Guterres’s initial response to the October 7 massacre was the following: “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.” Guterres, the literal head of the United Nations, also told the teenage sisters of a hostage that he has “no authority” to help them. Read that again: the head of the most powerful institution in the world told a Jewish family that he has no authority to help citizens of the world in need.
During this war, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency directly responsible for Palestinian refugees, has been exposed time and time again for working with Hamas. At least 20 UNRWA schoolteachers and staff praised the October 7 Hamas massacre of Israeli civilians, the deadliest antisemitic massacre since the Holocaust.
A released Israeli hostage testified that they had been held locked away in the attic of a United Nations teacher for over 50 days. They were not provided any medical attention and were barely provided any food. Instead of immediately investigating the allegation, the United Nations claimed the accusation was “unsubstantiated.”
Early during the war, Hamas itself released footage of an Israeli hostage bound and laying on top of UNRWA aid. Recently, Israel released evidence of UNRWA aid embedded into a Hamas tunnel structure. Many of the Israeli hostages are being kept in these tunnels.
According to a Gazan dissident, “Hamas are the senior leadership of UNRWA, and they’re also in charge of the humanitarian organizations…The UNRWA staff are Hamas. This is what you don’t understand. Or in essence, you know this very well. The people in charge of UNRWA’s regional operations centers are Hamas members.”
UN Women did not condemn the Hamas massacre, including the use of rape as a weapon of war, which is a crime against humanity, until December 2, nearly two months after October 7, and only after intense public pressure from Israel and the Jewish community.
UNICEF released a vague statement midday on October 7 that never mentioned Hamas. It never mentioned who the perpetrator of the massacres was.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
The World Health Organization said nothing on October 7. To this day it has not condemned Hamas for executing amateur operations on hostages, without anesthesia or pain medication. One operation was allegedly carried out by a veterinarian. To this day, it has not condemned Hamas for keeping hostages with disabilities and chronic illnesses without treatment and medication. It has not condemned Hamas for starving Israeli hostages. In fact, the WHO has not condemned Hamas at all.
But that’s not to say that the WHO is always slow to condemn things. When an errant Islamic Jihad rocket hit the Al Ahli Hospital parking lot in Gaza, the WHO condemned the attack the very same day. To this day, after most independent investigations concluded that Israel was not at fault and that Hamas had drastically inflated the death toll, the WHO has yet to revise its original statement.
THE DOUBLE STANDARD
The apathy of United Nations-affiliated institutions regarding the slaughter of October 7 and the continued war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated on Israelis are not par for the course. While Jews are hardly the only group to criticize the United Nations’ corruption — Iranians come to mind — the UN’s behavior toward the Jewish state is very much unlike its behavior toward other countries in the aftermath of a massacre.
Let’s take a look at another example of terrorism as a guideline. When ISIS bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on May 22, 2017, killing 22, Secretary General Guterres immediately “strongly condemned” the attack, and the Security Council released a statement, condemning “in the strongest terms the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack” and extending its solidarity to the United Kingdom. No one said the attack had to be understood “in the context” of the UK’s invasion of Iraq, the war against ISIS, or the UK’s long history of colonialism in the region, and no one said that it did not happen in a vacuum.
THE RED CROSS
The Red Cross did not unequivocally condemn Hamas on October 7. They still haven’t. In fact, this is what they said in the early hours of the October 7 massacre, long before any Israeli retaliation:
According to a UN Watch investigation, as of December 11, 77 percent of Red Cross Tweets criticized Israel, 16 percent criticized both sides, and only 7 percent criticized Hamas.
The Red Cross told the families of the hostages that they cannot help them because, among numerous reasons, Gaza is too dangerous to enter at the moment. While it’s obviously true that Gaza is under heavy Israeli bombardment, and that it’s a dangerous war zone, the entire mandate of the Red Cross is to “to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found.”
The Red Cross operates in dangerous war zones every day; for example, it operated in Syria during the Syrian Civil War, during which 600,000 people were killed and civilians were bombed with chemical weapons. The Red Cross operates in Yemen, which is currently in the midst of a bloody civil war, during which nearly 400,000 people have been killed. It operates in Ukraine, which has been under relentless Russian bombardment over the past two years, where over 100,000 Ukrainians have been killed.
The Red Cross’s claims that it cannot see the hostages because Gaza is too dangerous is also a blatant lie in light of the fact that the Palestinian Red Crescent and the Egyptian Red Crescent, both a part of the Red Cross, are currently operating in Gaza.
The Red Cross outrageously blamed “both” Hamas and Israel for their “inability” to help the hostages. They also admonished the mother of a hostage who begged them for help reaching her son to “think about the Palestinian side.”
The history of antisemitism in academia is extensive: from admissions quotas in the United States to the institutional distortion of Jewish history and identity in the Soviet Union to support for genocidal antisemites, including the Nazis. In fact, in the 1930s, Harvard University, one of the most highly respected (if not the most highly respected) academic institutions in the world, hosted the financier of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
On October 7, over 30 Harvard University student groups published an open letter where they said they were holding “Israel entirely responsible” for the massacre. “We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” they wrote.
To reiterate: they wrote this as the massacre was still unfolding.
On December 5, the United States Congress held a hearing on antisemitism on campus. The presidents of Harvard, MIT, and University of Pennsylvania were asked a straightforward question: do calls for Jewish genocide violate their university’s code of conduct?
None of them gave a straightforward answer. According to the president of Harvard, “it depends on the context.” The Penn president, who has since resigned, said, “If the speech becomes conduct*, it can be harassment…It is a context-dependent decision.” The president of MIT said, “[Calls for Jewish genocide] would be investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.”
*to translate, what she said here is that if calls for Jewish genocide become conduct (actual genocide), then that could possibly be harassment.